“Pray For Me” by The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar was a major hit when it came out back in 2018. The song was a part of the official Black Panther soundtrack and has received over 60 million plays on Lamar’s YouTube channel. Two years after the song’s release though, the artists are being sued for plagiarism.
According to TV Nouvelles, a New York City rock band called Yeasayer believes that “Pray For Me” is far too similar to their 2007 song “Sunrise” from the All Hours Cymbals album for it to be coincidental.
Pitchfork reports that Yeasayer is calling out the “distinctive choral performance” used in “Pray For Me” that is also included in their song. This performance includes “male voices singing in their highest registers, with animated pulsating vibrato”.
Pitchfork also notes that although Yeasayer broke up back in 2019, they’re seeking the entirety of the profits that Lamar and The Weeknd have earned from “Pray For Me” as well as damages for the alleged plagiarism.
TV Nouvelles mentions that neither rapper has responded to the accusations so far, although the news is getting quite a lot of online attention.
You can compare the similarities between the songs for yourself below.
According to TMZ, the NYC band believes that Lamar and The Weeknd lifted the material in question from “Sunrise”, modified slightly “with intent to conceal the infringement”, and used it eight separate times throughout the duration of “Pray For Me”.
It’s currently unclear exactly what will happen with this lawsuit, but according to Official Charts, “Pray For Me” peaked at number 11 when it came out, so Yeasayer could be in for a pretty penny if they do win.
Minus this speed bump, 2020 is shaping up to be a pretty big year for The Weeknd. The Toronto-born star recently announced a tour that includes six Canadian dates to go along with his After Hours album dropping on March 20.
If you’re hoping to catch The Weeknd in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, or Montreal, you can grab your tickets on Ticketmaster.